‘Its Important To Ask For Help’ – One Mums Struggle With Mental Health

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‘Its Important To Ask For Help’ – One Mums Struggle With Mental Health

Mental health is sometimes thought of as the elephant in the room. We most likely all know someone who has in the past or who is currently suffering with mental illness but we don’t talk about it freely.

What does depression look like and who is at risk? Being a new mum can be hard and being a mum with 3 kids can be equally as hard because surely you’ve got this by now, you’re an old hand at this but sometimes life doesn’t run that smoothly.

Up until recently I wouldn’t have thought I could be depressed. I have a beautiful family, 3 wonderful girls, a lovely husband, supportive family that love us, a lovely home and a happy life.

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Ciara and her girls

But life is hard, kids are tough work, work can be stressful and missing family and friends can make you feel lonely.

‘I lost Control and I lost my way’

I lost control and lost my way. I was stressed to the point of having panic attacks, I was shouting, sometimes screaming at the kids, I wasn’t keeping on top of things at home, I was sad, desperately sad and I wasn’t asking for help.

My middle daughter was struggling with sensory sensitivities, her health was spiraling downwards and her behavior was challenging me to my limit. I was convinced if I could help her get better that everything would be fine. But my stress and behaviour was impacting on the rest of the family, especially my eldest daughter and she was mirroring my behavior. She had a very bad attitude and seemed to be regularly sad. I still didn’t ask for help.

Mums tend to be control freaks or so I think anyway, ‘do it my way because I know it’s the right way’. I was doing so much that I couldn’t keep up. I was at breaking point. My husband Dave wanted me to talk to someone to get help but I denied the problem was with me. Depressed? I couldn’t be depressed… sometimes I was happy, I guess depressed people can be happy at times.

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Enjoying Brisbane…

We battled on, things got worse, I didn’t ask for help…. Until one day as I sat in my bedroom, crying, screaming – I picked up my phone and texted my sister on the other side of the world. She is one of the three people I have known the longest and I asked for help – I told her I wasn’t coping and didn’t know what to do.

Finally, there was relief, someone else knew. In our family, like many others I’m sure, we have a fear of worrying others. I didn’t want to worry my parents.

‘Finally there was relief’

Of course, my sister told my parents and while I was asleep that night my parents in Ireland made the decision to come see us to help. The next morning they called me to say they’d be in Brisbane in a week’s time. I cried and thanked them. My controlling self-was thinking, ‘but I’ve nothing organized’ – but I let it all happen and what a help it was.

It wasn’t an easy trip. My parents witnessed the extent of the problems but every day things got a bit better. While they were staying with us I finally realized I was contributing to the behavior problems of my kids and that maybe I was depressed. I sought help finally, and put a plan of action in place.

Here we are months later and we’ve turned our lives around. Initially, we saw positive changes in our house. I was happier, I was kind to myself, I started delegating jobs and managed to do less overall. A strict routine was put in place for the girls and consequences for bad behavior were established. It was slow going and along the way we decided to see a family psychologist who helped us immensely.

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Mum and Dad came to help.

Now there are less fights and more happy hugs. As parents we are more in control, we can see the light at the end of a long, difficult tunnel.

I realise now I was depressed and have to continue to help myself to be happy. Mental health issues can take many forms but if you don’t take action they can tear lives and families apart. I consider myself lucky, there are a lot more people out there with worse problems than me. I was having a tough time but have overcome most of the problems. I still work hard on making myself happy. I say work hard because I have to, I don’t naturally look after myself as everybody else needs me too.

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Kids, huh?

The important thing is to ask for help, it’s easy to say but very hard to do.

Reach out to your friends and family if you think they are having problems, people are very good at hiding problems but try to see the small things and make yourself available.

Life is so busy for all of us but it takes a village to raise a child, let’s all help each other and be that village together.

I am forever grateful to my parents. Their trip was a positive turning point for us and for that I say thank you. Without my sister hearing me and listening, we wouldn’t have turned things around. She knew what I needed and she helped.

If you need help, please tell someone that you are struggling, see your GP or contact lifeline.

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Ciara Hansen -

Author

I’m a little like a trail mix, a bit of everything in one little packet. I’m a mum of 3 little girls living in Brisbane, loving life with our little family of 5. I hail from Dublin and am very proud to call myself Irish! I love designing and opened an Etsy Store, Hello Snowflake (www.hellosnowflake.etsy.com). My husband and I blog about family life at Our Recipe for Life - www.ourrecipeforlife.com . I started the blog as a way to find my own time during a difficult year on maternity leave. I escaped into craft, recipes, DIY and stories and I realised I love writing.

1 comment

    • Gabrielle
    • May 15, 2018
    Reply

    What an enlightening, honest and beautifully written piece. Young Mum’s especially today, have so much stress in their lives. They are expected to be all things to everybody. It takes a lot of courage to admit you are struggling but even more courage to do something about it, and reach out for help. I’m so delighted you have turned a corner. Keep positive, continue to take time out for yourself, and if you find yourself falling back, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. I hope many other Mom’s read this article, and if they realise they might need help, they reach out too.

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